Flu Shots

Flu Shots

As you know, this blog isn’t just about karate and tournaments. It was also intended to be about health and fitness (but to a lessor degree). I was going to post a reminder to get your flu shots and provide a list of resources for people in the Far West Suburbs who may be in need of low-cost or no-cost flu vaccines.

But, it occurred to me, I’m running late. I should have got those resources out there in September. I also should have already had MY flu shot but, again, I’m running late.

As an adult, who spends a lot of time around kids because of teaching and whatnot, I really, really should get my shot. (And I will.)

So, if like me, you’ve been putting off what you know you really should do, here’s some tips I just picked up:

There’s two options if you hate, hate, HATE needles. The first is called an Intradermal Flu Shot. It uses an itty-bitty needle and doesn’t have to go in as deep. The second is the flu nasal spray. To get the spray, you can’t be pregnant, you must be healthy and you have to be between the ages two and 49. (I got that from Shape magazine’s RSS feed but, when I googled it to get an exact link, I saw that everyone ran that article. So, kudos to whoever wrote that press release!)

And, this is cool: the Health Map Flu Vaccine Finder. I found the link on the Kane County Health Department’s Web site, but the map is good for everyone in the U.S. Put in your address in the fields to the right and you’ll see a map of where you can find some pretty affordable flu shots. (Mostly these are pharmacies, at least where I live because the VNA did their shots in October.) Some locations have prices listed, too, which should help those on a budget.

So that’s it. Stop procrastinating and get your flu vaccine. Hopefully, next year, we’ll both be a little more on top of our game.


Super Star Karate to Hold 7th Annual Black Belt Spectacular

Super Star Karate in Carol Stream will hold its 7th Annual Black Belt Spectacular, an hour and a half, action-packed, family-friendly martial arts show that is entirely choreographed music. There will be jump kicks, acrobatics, weapons, self-defense and board breaking. But, then again, what else would you expect from a school that has “Super Star” in its name?

Oh yah, there will also be 35 students who will be promoted to first and second degree black belt.

Tickets are available for $15. Order yours by calling 630-668-5425 before Nov. 23 and you’ll save $5. All the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Guide for Busy Karate Parents: Is My  Child Ready for Tournaments?

Guide for Busy Karate Parents: Is My Child Ready for Tournaments?

ishereadyI’m working on a short guide for our karate parents. It will be a little primer covering what to expect, what to bring and how much all this is going to cost them. As I’m working on it, I’ll be putting portions of it here to test it out in front of a friendly audience. Please, let me know what you think.

As a tournament approaches, I’ll approach the parent of a new team member.  I’ll explain their student has been working hard on her kata and has shown great improvement from their efforts. The student knows her backup plan in case she forgets her kata. (It will happen to  everyone at least once.) She knows the basics of point sparring and ring etiquette.

“If it’s something she’s interested in, she’s welcome to join as at the next tournament.”

At this point, the parents always ask if their child is ready to compete. It’s time to answer their question with some questions.

Will your child be able to find their ring?

Tournaments are noisy and there is a lot of stuff going on to distract a young child. So, if your coach is judging in another ring or is otherwise disposed helping another team member, can your child find her ring? If she needs help finding her ring, are there older and more experienced team members attending who can help her? Will you be available to help her get to where she needs to be to compete, if she needs it?
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The Official Post-Surgery Post

General anesthesia bothers me on a spiritual level: the missing time, the nothingness that exists prior to waking up. It runs counter to everything I believe about life and death.  And, after the 8th or 10th time going under, the sensation of emerging from nothingness becomes a little more familiar. And it bothers me a little more.

For me, there is this second after waking, when there’s this surge of relief because everything is still here, as I left it. And I cry. These are huge, hiccuping sobs that won’t stop, even when a nurse rushes forward to place an oxygen mask over my face. Apparently, surviving a spiritual crisis looks exactly like someone struggling to breathe.

That’s what usually happens.

* * *

“Stacy,” someone said quietly.

Waking slightly, I began to feel the relief. Thank God, I’m – “AAUUUGH!”

It felt like someone had punched me in the stomach… with cinder blocks. Other than the realization I was alive and awake, I really didn’t understand anything else that was going on. Where I was, why I was there, even the position of my body in space – completely unknown.

I was awake and my stomach hurt but, hey, screaming again might be productive.

“AU—“ There was a rustling sound and two nurses materialized at my sides. Well, I think there were two nurses, my eyes were shut. I think I had managed to pull myself up to a sitting position, because they each had one hand on my back. They also grabbed my arms and pinned my hands so I couldn’t…well, I’m not sure exactly.

“We’re coming with a shot, Stacy. You need to relax. Breathe.”

I panted through gritted teeth.

“No. Slow breaths. In through the nose; out through the mouth.”

What the fucking difference would that make, I wondered. But I followed their directions, taking exaggerated breaths. I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried it, but it’s REALLY hard to breathe sarcastically.

“That’s a good girl. There we go. There’s your shot.”

“Gah!” I tried to snarl at them, but it wasn’t very successful. It sounded more like a phlegmy belch.

The pain started to recede. The nurses eased me onto my back.

“Someone really needs to fucking warn a bitch!”

“Girl, you just had abdominal surgery. You didn’t think that shit was going to hurt?”

I really love the nurses in my town. Seriously.

And, in my defense, I did know on an intellectual level that the surgery would hurt. I meant, when they woke me up, she should have said, “Stacy,” pause, “hold on, girl. This is going to suck.”

I started to relax and let my eyes flutter shut. Then, I heard my urologists’ voice, “Hey, there, kiddo. How you feeling?”

I extended my middle finger in his direction and fell asleep.

* * *

My second day at the hospital, I discovered the morphine button lights up when you can have another dose. The nurses explained I could hit the button whenever I wanted, but the machine would only allow me a maximum of 3 doses an hour. Once I discovered the button lit up, the next eight hours were an exercise in peripheral vision and hand-eye coordination.

“Well you must be doing better,” said a nurse reading the machine. “When you first came in, you pushed the button 72 times in an hour. Now, you’re down to three.”

* * *

Recovery is an exercise in delusion. I underestimated EVERYTHING: how long it would take me to get back on my feet, how much energy it would consume, and how little I would accomplish during my “little vacation.” (At work, that’s how we refer to my medical leave – complete with air quotes.)

I’m not sure if it’s because my medical leave didn’t go according to plan or if it’s an anesthesia side effect, but I spent a good part of that six weeks in a fetal position, sobbing quietly. OK, that’s an exaggeration. Most of the time, I couldn’t lie on my side. But I did have a raging case of post-surgery depression. (It’s a thing.)

So, I did what any recovering fat girl would do, I self-medicated. My enabler, aka the husband, kept me well-stocked with ice cream. BFF Teri called this phase, “the five flavors of grief.” (I wish you could have seen her when she said it — all sympathetic expression and nodding sagely.)

I’ve resumed teaching and taking class. I’ve just adding a “run” or two a week…right about a mile sometimes a trifle more or less. And a lot of the time, I walk as much as I run. Prior to the health melt down, was actually running a mile in the morning just as a warm-up for practice. I ran longer on cross training days.

This week, I’ve resumed waking up at 4:30 a.m. again, with the plans to start working out in that time slot next week. So, that’s what’s been going on with me. And, I’ve already decided that if I ever need surgery again, I’m going to line up some guest bloggers.

What have you been up to the past 8 weeks?






Girls N Gis All Female Martial Arts Tournament – Aug. 3, 2013

The Thompson Karate Foundation’s third annual Girls N Gi all female tournament will be held Aug. 3, 2012 at Malcolm X College, 1900 West Van Buren Street in Chicago, IL. Registration is 12:00pm(noon). Black belt meeting is at 12:45pm.

Self Defense eliminations begin at 1 p.m.Other divisions will immediately follow.

Black belt judges are asked to wear proper martial arts uniforms with belt belt. Black Belt Judges who arrive after 1:30pm must pay spectator fee ($10 at the door).

Tournament fee is $25 for  all events-single competitor. At the Door (August 3, 2013) $50 for the first division and $10 each additional division, team $100 and spectators $10. If you register online, there are some minor fees associated with EventBrite.

Note: As of today, the prices on EventBrite are exactly as I listed.  But, the EventBrite website states “after June 30th, the price of the tournament is $35 for 1 division and $10 each additional division.” Please keep this in mind when registering.

Register online at http://2013girlsngis.eventbrite.com/. You can email event organizers from there.

Or you can also check out the foundation’s Web site at http://thompsonkarate.org/.